We all know that winter can take a heavy toll on the fragile skin covering our faces, our body’s first line of everyday defense. Dehydrating heating systems, overzealous holiday parties, overextending ourselves through multiple Zoom meetings, and in-person office conferences (ugh, maskne), plus the stress of family get-togethers, can all increase skin stress.
Time to amp up our self-care routine and tap into those Meridian channels. These are the energy points and pathways, based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), that can work together to create beauty and vitality, with a web-like network, connecting the subtle energy (prana or qi) of our body and emotions associated with organs, muscles, fascial tissue and joints. As a Meridian Yoga Therapist, providing acupressure and auricular detox acupuncture to students and clients, I can attest to the healing benefits of Meridian work. Apply those techniques to facial skin, and you can tone, brighten and rejuvenate, whilst releasing stress and toxins, increasing blood flow, and improving your emotional outlook on everything. All of which aids in the health of your skin, especially the face, upping collagen creation, lymphatic drainage and negative energy release.
Of course, it’s a treat to settle in on the table of a trusted meridian energy worker, but you don’t have to be a certified therapist to press, tap, massage, scrape or cup your face — you can do it yourself! Activate or stimulate those areas, alternately referred to as meridian points or nadi energy vortexes — with acupressure based on acupuncture. Marma point massage, tapping, cupping and gua sha. While you’re at it, merge your meridian facial energy work with oils, elixirs, serums and creams imbued with natural healing ingredients, like adaptogens —herbs or mushrooms with extra benefits (think reishi mushroom, turmeric, green tea, ginseng, maca root), goji berries, plant stem cells, and biocompatible cold pressed oils, amongst others.
ACUPRESSURE: “Can you use the meridians to create beauty? Anything that creates vitality and consciousness also creates beauty!” enthuses Dr. Rose Erin Vaughan, Body Aware New York acupuncturist and founder of Science of Self, and Meridian Yoga Therapy, who is deep at work on a beauty and meridian book. “Beauty, like health, is essentially a balance of Yin and Yang. Yin is blood and fluids that nourish and moisturize the skin and muscles. Yang is Qi/energy and spirit/Shen that makes the face and body glow.”
Dr. Vaughan’s acupressure treatments are based on acupuncture, the process of needling the points, and both techniques enhance natural beauty. This alleviates facial and throat tension that can make you look older, by using your fingertips to stimulate blood flow and collagen production, which helps with neck pain, jaw pain and headaches as well. When we spoke recently, she gave me a sampling of her acupressure and gua sha facial massage and I left feeling glowing, nourished, released and rejuvenated.
Highlighting some important meridian energy that affects the face, she notes:
• The gallbladder pathway controls muscle tension throughout the body, as well as in the face.
• An imbalance of the kidney/adrenal energy can lead to dark undereye circles. Recharge with sleep and silence.
• Spleen energy can affect collagen, and a deficiency of that can lead to sagging or puffy skin.
Her most important takeaway? “The Heart is what shines in the face, and that is what makes others perceive you as beautiful. LOVE is the most attractive quality. Love and you will shine!”
Tap with fingernails at the crown of the head. Try the Governing Vessel 20 points or Crown Chakra, then move down the face to pinch the eyebrows, stretching across brows with finger pads, massaging along the jaw points from the chin towards the ears, then massage both ears to benefit most, moving flow of qi along the facial pathways.
Pair with: Kat Burki’s Micro-Firming Wand for a multi-level skin healing experience, accelerating deep nourishment with a dab of Vitamin C Intensive Face Cream, its “STAY C” base empowered by the anti-aging elements of reishi mushroom. Experience greater absorption for radiant, revitalized skin.
GUA SHA and CUPPING: Other wellness techniques that move energy along the facial points and pathways include gua sha, which scrapes lightly across the skin using a small flat jade tool, and cupping, which relies on small silicon cups that slide across the skin. Both connect and relax muscles, drawing fresh healing blood, and hydrating fluids towards the skin’s surface. Avoid the most delicate skin, as well as any broken skin areas, whilst elevating blood flow and increasing collagen production, brightening and revitalizing skin.
Pair with: Kat Burki PH+ Enzyme Essence for balanced hydration from antioxidant-dense turmeric, collagen-supporting vitamin C from orange hydrosols, pumpkin seed oil and papaya.
MARMA: The thousand-year-old practice of Marma therapy is an Ayurvedic system based on the 72,000 nadis, or energy channels that direct prana through the body like a river, usually via abhyanga, a warm oil, full body massage that rejuvenates and revitalizes.
“Marma Therapy is a dynamic and powerful Vedic method of bodywork, stemming from India’s ancient healing science – Ayurveda,” explains Iraimer Ruiz, Marma specialist and founder of The Sacred Movement. Her yoga, meditation and marma master class dives into the modality’s therapeutic benefits, highlighting “the manipulation of subtle energy in the body for the purpose of supporting the natural healing processes that your body already carries.” Marma work on the face is “an opportunity to increase the mobility of our face,” Ruiz says. And that is both relaxing and invigorating.
Use fingertips to gently but firmly stimulate Marma points for up to 5 minutes, concentrating on the center of forehead, either side of nose at base of nostrils, center of chin, center of palms, top of head. Circle your fingertips in a clockwise movement to stimulate energy flow; counter-clockwise to calm and Zen out.
Pair with: Kat Burki’s Power Trio Radiance Oil to soften skin, lock in nutrients and moisture, protect from environmental toxins via a blend of biocompatible, cold processed oils.
TAPPING: Another wellness body work practice perfect for the face involves tapping, which also uses the power of the energy points. Founded by Gary Craig in the 1990s, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is “an emotional version of acupuncture,”. of course, done without needles. As Craig has said, it can balance your energy system and treat pain, but we like it for its ability to increase blood circulation, increase collagen production, and reverse cell breakdown caused by stress hormones. Use fingertip pressure to stimulate key energy points on your head, face, and collar bones. Focus on the top of the head, insides of the eyebrows, outer sides of, and under the eyes, under the nose, the chin, and inner points of the collar bone, tapping gently while meditating.
Pair with: Kat Burki’s FORM CONTROL™ Marine Collagen Gel, to lift and fill with luxuriating pure algae keratin, botanical hyaluronic acid and silk amino acid proteins, specific collagen boosters, reishi mushroom and plant stem cells.
No need to tap out on the health of your skin this holiday season; there are a wealth of wellness boosters right at your fingertips.